I'm sure these are connected, but I'm still a little too sick to figure out how, so I'll hang them out and let others connect the dots. Two "teaching begins at home" thoughts, then a broader "hmmm"
1) Don't fault a kid for being overly critical of her playmates when she's basically parroting something you said. I get frustrated about Kid's tendency to focus on the problems in relationships, the minor slights, the exhausting litany of "and then Little Boy X karate chopped me in the arm AGAIN." I listen. I advise. If I sense bullying, I discreetly observe and intervene if necessary. But I also realized last night as she launched into an extended dissection of the behavior of a kid she
swims with that I had provided her with an appalling unmerciful example of how to talk about another human being. Naturally, rather than taking responsibility, I initially tried to hold her accountable and confused her. (Yes, another wonderful
moment in my parenting history.) Now I wonder how I go about slowly repatterning my own speech (and hers) into
a less judgmental frame. God, sometimes I wish I had an "idiotic pronouncements I have made" wiper.
2) Maybe it wasn't the smartest thing I ever did to start reading Kid this very gripping story about a young ballerina
caught in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War...because we all know how that's going to turn out. Duh, Communards
getting killed by the thousands after prolonged starvation. Completely age inappropriate. Right up there with
viewing La Boheme during her asthma attack. (Yet, I must admit that the author captures the human price of
war, the way that art can be used in the worst of times to ameliorate suffering and give hope, the preciousness of
a taste of hoarded marmalade after a long hunger -- it's more thought-provoking than repeated viewings of
DragonTales, but whether those are thoughts a nearly-seven-year-old needs to be pushed toward thinking is
3) When researching the Communards (I had the Western Civ overview, allowing me to briefly explain the movement
to Kid but without the detailed knowledge to answer the questions that she'll come up with over time), I
realize that the British pop-band of the same name is far more easy to find out about than this exceptionally
significant mass-movement of workers that prefigured both the Bolshevik Revolution and Maoism. Ok, well,
the politics of the Internet isn't really all that hard to figure out... but in speaking with
a long-time friend about this, he suggested that perhaps if a million people wanted to know about the British
pop band and a thousand people wanted to know about the social movement that shaped the most important ideological
conflict of the twentieth century, maybe one could argue that the pop band is more important. I just can't accept
that. I have staked my professional livelihood on making the argument that some stuff is more worth
knowing than others (and one should pay me to teach that stuff to you expeditiously). And the Paris Communards
(1870s) are more important than the British Communards (1980s). There. I've just out and said it.